Celebrate the Wines of British Columbia  
reviews the work of the BC Wine Institute during each quarter of the fiscal year.

This 2nd quarter review covers activities that occurred during July, August and September 2016.
In this issue
Miles Prodan
Throughout the second quarter, the BC Wine Institute (BCWI) has been pursuing the provincial government to implement the BC Wine Appellation Task Group's recommendations approved by industry in a BC Wine Authority (BCWA) plebiscite.

The BC wine industry is evolving within broader geographical areas and expanded product lines. In response, the BCWI commissioned the task group to work with the Ministry of Agriculture and the BCWA to engage the industry and use its input to recommend improvements to BC's system of appellations, and the certification for wine produced from 100% BC grapes. Under the Bylaws and Operating Agreement with the Government, the BCWA needs a "double majority", or 65% of its members who make at least 50% of the wine, to vote in order for any amendment to the Wines of Marked Quality Regulation be proposed. This criterion was met in 10 of the 11 recommendations.

To ensure alignment between the two industry organizations, BCWA (the regulator) and BCWI (the marketing/advocacy industry elected body), the BCWI Board, at its annual planning session, reiterated its support for the plebiscite results and again urged the Minister of Agriculture for prompt action on the regulatory changes to allow for the implementation of Recommendation #7 (Establishment of New Geographical Indications), recognizing that some of the recommendations will take more time. During the meeting, it was also agreed to prioritize Recommendation #10 (Flat Fee for Smaller Wineries) in an effort to encourage participation in BC VQA Wine certification for small producers.

While the BCWI supports the implemention of all the plebiscite results, recently we met with Government to push for Recommendation #1 (Mandatory [BCWA] Membership), and Recommendation #5 (Mandatory Qualification as a Wine of British Columbia) which would result in every BC winery operating within the same set of rules.

Currently, wineries can choose whether to join the BCWA. If a winery joins, it is subject to audits ensuring it is following the rules set out in the Wines of Marked Quality Regulation for certification. If a winery does not join, then there is no ability for the BC Wine Authority to ensure compliance. However, the winery still receives the benefits provided to BC VQA Wine, such as direct delivery and markup relief.

This is a concern as representation of BC wines should be for true 100% BC wine as per the regulation, and, as the recommendations prescribe, if the wine is not certified under the regulation as 100% BC, markup should be paid.

Recommendations #1 and #5 are critical to provide a level playing field for the BC wine industry and to prevent those wineries that can currently opt out of following the rules from taking advantage of the benefits.

Maggie Anderson
The second quarter of Fiscal 2017 was a busy time for the Wines of British Columbia. 

Continuing our focus on developing export markets and gaining international recognition for BC wine, we welcomed Debra Meiburg MW from Hong Kong to tour and learn first-hand about our wine producing regions and address the BC industry regarding Asian markets. 

Debra spoke at our Asian Markets Export Symposium on August 16 where she provided insights into the markets of Hong Kong, Japan, Korea and greater China. Following Debra's presentation, Beth McMahon from the Canadian Vintners Association provided an update on national projects including the Wines of Canada brand development, planned national activities and federal funding. Concluding the symposium, Ben Stewart, BC's Special Representative in Asia, shared his knowledge of the Asian markets and plans from the BC Ministry of International Trade. We are continuing to work with all three presenters in developing further opportunities for the BC wine industry. 

Following an extremely busy spring and summer for wine and culinary tourism, the Wines of British Columbia  launched a shoulder season campaign to attract visitors to our wine regions during a traditionally slower tourism time. Branded BC Wine Country: Your Urban Escape, t he campaign targets gentle explorers (primarily defined by their reluctance to venture far and who demand the very best and most comfortable environments for themselves when they do so) in the Lower Mainland, Calgary and Seattle. Various media are being used to reach our target audience including both still and digital billboards and online digital advertising. The campaign is supported with ongoing social media efforts to drive tourism in the shoulder seasons. 

November will see changes in the team at the BCWI as I head off on a 12-month maternity leave. I'm thrilled to share that our Marketing Manager, Kim Barnes, will be stepping into the role of Marketing Director during this time. Many of you know Kim and have been witness to her skill and passion in marketing the BC wine industry; I'm sure you join me in wishing her all the best in her new position. Replacing Kim on a one-year contract is Teresa Nykilchuk. Teresa joins us with an extensive international marketing background in the IT industry and most recently worked for Mission Hill Family Estate Winery for two seasons. We are thrilled to have Teresa on the team.

Laura Kittmer
With wine tourism at an all-time high during the second quarter, requests from national and international media for visits and/or information on BC wine and our premium wine region were elevated.

The Wines of British Columbia received a lot of media attention with the signing of an interprovincial trade agreement, more BC VQA Wine-in-grocery stores opening, and the launch of the BCWI's shoulder season campaign, Explore BC VQA Wine. Coverage included radio, television, social media, online articles and print publications throughout the province. In addition, the 2nd annual Judgment of BC continued to gain international coverage throughout the summer.  The  early start to harvest and unusual summer weather were also widely covered by the media creating excitement for vintage 2016. 

During the quarter, the BCWI organized events for and welcomed international wine influencers from Hong Kong, Germany and Sweden to explore our beautiful region. 

The BCWI hosted VIP BC VQA Wine seminars in Vancouver and Calgary, enabling the Wines of British Columbia to reach more than 52 media and trade in these cities. The seminars offered a comprehensive tasting and discussion on the unique attributes of terroir throughout different BC wine regions and sub-regions. Terroir-driven wines from BCWI member wineries were selected by moderators Rhys Pender MW and Brad Royale. Attendance included key wine influencers, including John Schreiner, Sid Cross, Kurtis Kolt, Neal McLennan, Joanne Sasvari, Mireille Sauve, David Stansfield, Tom Firth and Mike Roberts.

BC SALES REPORTS - July, August & September
To see the sales reports from the second quarter, click on the links below. 

Provincial wine market share in BC for BC VQA Wine in litres R12 ended Fiscal 2017 P6 (September 2016):
  • 17.08%
  • Growth of 16.54% (over Fiscal 2016 P6)

BC VQA Wine litre sales from the cellar door for R12 ended Fiscal 2017 P6 (September 2016):

  • 22.32%
  • Growth of 25.61% (over Fiscal 2016 P6)
Following another successful Annual General Meeting (held July 5, 2016 at Manteo Resort, Kelowna), the BC Wine Institute is pleased to introduce its new Board of Directors.

BCWI Board of Directors (L to R standing) Josie Tyabji, Ezra Cipes, Anthony Holler, Greg Berti, Leo Gebert, Erik Fisher, Robert Heiss, (L-R seated) David Wilson, Miles Prodan and Christa-Lee McWatters Bond. Absent: Douglas Friend, David Kozuki.
Nine voting BCWI Directors represent British Columbia wineries of all sizes. Congratulations to newly elected or re-elected members of the Board of Directors:
  • Leo Gebert (St. Hubertus & Oak Bay Estate Winery)
  • Robert Heiss (Gray Monk Estate Winery)
  • Anthony Holler (Poplar Grove Winery)
  • David Wilson (Mission Hill Family Estate Winery)
Continuing their terms on the Board are: Greg Berti (Andrew Peller); Ezra Cipes (Summerhill Pyramid Winery); Erik Fisher (Monte Creek Ranch Winery); Christa-Lee McWatters Bond (Evolve Cellars); and Josie Tyabji (Constellation Brands Canada). 

The Board elected Christa-Lee McWatters Bond as its Chair. 

Non-voting ex officio members of the Board are: Miles Prodan, BCWI President & CEO; David Kozuki (Golden Retreat Vineyard) representing the BC Grapegrowers' Assocation; and Douglas Friend who sits as an Independent.  For more information, read the press release.
John Schreiner receives the BCWI Industry Recognition Award from Christa-Lee McWatters Bond.
On July 5, Mr. John Schreiner was awarded the BCWI Industry Recognition Award. Mr. Schreiner, BC's most prolific wine writer and authority on BC wines, received the award in gratitude for his many years of outstanding contribution to the BC wine industry.

Mr. Schreiner was one of the first true wine writers in Canada and paved the path for the many who have followed. Mr. Schreiner takes pride in learning the stories of each winery in British Columbia and sharing those stories through his writing. Without him, the BC wine industry would look very different today and everyone in the industry is grateful for his efforts.

Christa-Lee McWatters Bond presents Tony Stewart with the BCWI Award of Distinction.
Mr. Tony Stewart, CEO of Quail's Gate Winery, was awarded the BCWI Award of Distinction on the evening of July 5. Mr. Stewart received the award in recognition of his outstanding leadership, commitment and passion for the advancement of the BC wine industry. In addition, Mr. Stewart devotes much of this time to local, industry, provincial and national associations, including the Canadian Vintners Association where he currently serves as its board chair.

"It's not the differences that define us, it's the common goals that unite us," said Mr. Stewart during his acceptance speech.

The BC Wreceived funding for its Wine and Culinary Tourism Strategy from Destination British Columbia's Co-op Marketing Partnership Program. The Wine and Culinary Tourism Strategy was developed to support all of BC's wine producing regions   and the local culinary offerings in these  areas. Click here to read the Wine and Culinary Tourism Strategy .

Part of the strategy includes an in-region summer campaign that helped increase visitors' awareness of the diversity of wine and food opportunities available to them while in BC Wine Country. The campaign, which ran July 25 through September 12, included radio, billboards, street-level signage and online marketing. 

Also supporting the Wine and Culinary Tourism Strategy, the BCWI launched its campaign  BC Wine Country: Your  Urban Escape  this fall to inspire travelers to  visit BC's wine regions this harvest season. See above report from Maggie Anderson for more information on this campaign.


Explore BC VQA Wine
 launched in September and runs through the fall, winter and s pring. The campaign is designed to encourage consumers to look for BC VQA on the  label and experience BC VQA Wines from all of BC's wine regions. In-store and media  promotions are supporting the campaign activities and BC VQA sales .

To engage consumers, the campaign includes a social media contest in which consumers
are encouraged to upload their favourite BC VQA Wine experiences on Instagram or
Twitter and include #ExploreBCWine for a chance to win a seasonal BC VQA Wine tour for two. 

Each fall, the BC Wine Institute holds tasting events in Vancouver and Calgary to help its member wineries showcase their new releases to trade, media and influential buyers. Following these events, the BCWI surveys the participating wineries and attendees to measure the success of the event.

The Colour BC VQA Fall Release Tasting held on September 15 was well attended with 462 trade, media and influential buyers attending. Seventy-nine wineries poured more than 300 BC VQA Wines. Here's what responding attendees told us:
  • More than half of the attendees listed a new BC VQA Wine as a result of attending the tasting, and 65% plan to do so in the near future.
  • 94% reported the overall event was excellent or very good.
  • 100% reported they will definitely or are very likely to attend next year's event.
Responding wineries reported:
  • 67% developed new business relationships as a result of attending the event.
  • 89% are likely to participate in next year's event.
  • 58% have had new products listed as a result of attending.
  • 100% rated the number of attendees as excellent, very good or good.
  • 89% rated the quality of attendees as excellent, very good or good.

The Discover BC VQA Fall Release Tasting was held on September 21 where 27 wineries showcased more than 100 BC VQA Wines to 88 trade, media and influential buyers. Here's what responding attendees told us about their experience:
  • 81% reported they developed new business relationships as a result of attending the tasting. 
  • 31% have already listed a new BC VQA Wine and 44% report they plan to do so in the near future.
  • 100% reported the overall event was excellent, very good, or good.
  • 100% reported they will definitely or are very likely to attend next year's event.
"[The tasting] ga ve me  an opportu nity to try some wines that I had not had a chance to before and found that they would be great additions to our offering. In fact, I've already brought in 3 different ones because of the event."  - Trade attendee respondent
Responding wineries reported:
  • 67% developed new business relationships and one-third have had new products listed as a result of attending the event.
  • Two-thirds rated the number of attendees as average, but rated the quality of those attendees as very good.

"As an owner of a small family winery it's a great opportunity to meet excited buyers in a new market. I have achieved new sales and further strengthened current relationships. It was well worth the trip to Calgary." - Bobby Gidda (pictured above, right), Proprietor Volcanic Hills Estate Winery

The annual ChefmeetsBCGrape event celebrated 12 years of continued success on September 15. Nearly 550 wine and food lovers packed the Vancouver Convention Centre where 84 BCWI member wineries poured 320 BC VQA Wines and nine restaurants created dishes that highlighted local ingredients.

"More than a decade later, BC wineries, restaurants and consumers are still excited to be a part of this must-attend event celebrating wine and food from BC's premium regions," said Miles Prodan, President and CEO of the British Columbia Wine Institute, which organizes the event. "This event supports a great organization, with all proceeds going to the Vancouver Arts Club, and it is an excellent opportunity for us to bring BC Wine Country to the city."

The event raised $30,000 for the Vancouver Arts Club.

Dawn Chubai, host of City TV's Breakfast Television, again served as emcee as chefs competed at the event to win three coveted awards: Best BC VQA Pairing, Best Dish and, for the first time, a Consumers' Choice award. A panel of wine and food experts, including Kurtis Kolt, James Nevison, Rhys Pender MW and Joanne Sasvari tasted through the paired wines and dishes.

The pairing of Desert Hills Estate Winery's Gamay Noir 2015 BC VQA Okanagan Valley and Lift Bar and Grill's smoked sturgeon took home the Best BC VQA Pairing and Best Dish prizes.

Desert Hills Estate Winery and Lift Bar & Grill celebrate their win for Best BC VQA Pairing with BCWI representatives Kim Barnes and Tanya Cormier and the judges.

Coming in a close second was the Gold Hill Winery Cabernet Franc 2013 BC VQA Okanagan Valley paired with onion ash beef terrine prepared by Torafuku Modern Asian Eatery. 
The Consumers' Choice was Lake Breeze Vineyards' Spice Jar 2015 BC VQA Okanagan Valley paired with Chicha Restaurant's tuna causa.
The BC Wine Institute worked with the BC Liquor Stores' marketing team to create and host the annual BC VQA Learning Experience in September. The group consisted of 34 BC Liquor Stores' staff from around the province, including 21 BC VQA advocates, 10 product consultants, two regional managers and Stephen Schiedel, portfolio manager.

This year's venture through BC's Wine Country included the BCWI's Wines of British Columbia Ambassador Program Level 1 and a presentation by Dr. Pat Bowen of Agriculture and Agri-Foods Canada.  28 wineries contributed in hosting the group who were most impressed. 

"With the tour just over and back to business, we wanted to reach out and pass along our thanks and gratitude to the wineries, their staff and the BCWI team, for making this an extremely successful educational experience," said Stephen. "There were a number of highlights from this trip that the group has never before seen or experienced and it shows the evolution of this training exercise. Given the tour occurred during harvest, we appreciated the wineries sharing the action with us and having their winemaking and viticultural staff available. The enthused tour participants are now charged and recharged to promote and sell BC VQA Wines in BC Liquor Stores. Many thanks."
Direct and indirect media coverage of the BC Wine Institute, its members and the  Wines of British Columbia reached more than 127 million readers and viewers from July 1 through September 30.  Value for media coverage totaled $410,733

Number of articles released by country during Q2.
Ursula Heinzelmann, Germany ( Vinum magazine)
André Proulx, Ontario (, Toronto Star)
Debra Meiburg MW, Hong Kong
Tim Pawsey, Vancouver ( Quench magazine , and
Ulf Palmnas, Sweden (Swedish magazine Munskänken

Asian Market Exports Symposium (Summerland)
Colour VIP Media & Trade BC VQA Terroir in a Glass Tasting & Seminar (Vancouver)
Discover VIP Media & Trade BC VQA Terroir in a Glass Tasting & Seminar (Calgary)
Chefmeets BCGrape (Vancouver)

Wine Spectator Drinking Out Loud 
During March, the BCWI hosted Matt Kramer of Wine Spectator to host a trade and media lunch and BC VQA Wine masterclass as part of its sponsorship with The Big Taste Calgary. Kramer featured BC in his 'Where Should You Go?' wine column on
this past August reaching more than 160,000 wine enthusiasts.
In August 2015, the BCWI hosted UK wine critic Steven Spurrier in-region for an extensive BC VQA Wine tour. Spurrier's article came out in the August 2016 issue of Decanter; reaching more than 58,000 wine enthusiasts in print and online.
Early harvest for BC wineries this year captured headlines across the country. The BCWI's media release stating it was the earliest harvest on record reached millions of people through news publications and social media activity.
Wines of British Columbia continue to receive international recognition for producing quality wines and offering tourists a premium wine touring destination. In April, BCWI's Media Relations Manager Laura Kittmer met with USA travel writers Matthew Meltzer, and Beth D'Addono. This meeting resulted in BC Wine Country being featured in Thrillist and USA Today as a top destination to visit.

For a list of media coverage generated from July 1 through September 30, click here.

A highlight of the second quarter was our #SavourthisPlace summer 2016 in-region digital campaign to help promote wine touring while in BC Wine Country. During a five-week period, the BCWI featured social ads on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to encourage followers to post, tweet and share their wine touring experiences using #SavourthisPlace and #BCWine.

Direct and indirect reach on Twitter was more than 325,000 impressions through 163 tweets and 405 mentions; the BCWI gained 190 followers during the second quarter.

The top tweet was sent during Vancouver Island's first BC VQA Wine-in-grocery store grand opening in Parksville, earning almost 5,000 impressions. The top mention came from Beppi Crosariol on his ode to cool chardonnays from BC & Ontario earning 168 engagements.

For the full snapshot of   WineBCdotcom Twitter activity,  click here.

Not following us on Instagram? Find us here

In order to ensure the  Wines of British Columbia  stay top of mind in key markets and to make sure consumers and industry remain informed on issues affecting the wine industry, the BC Wine Institute regularly issues press releases to a group of more than 300 media, primarily in Canada and the US.

Press releases issued in Q2 are located in the News section  of our Press Room on


Through its competition consolidation program, the BCWI assisted its member wineries in entering their BC VQA Wines into 14 national and international competitions in 2016 where they earned nearly 1,200 awards!

Three of these competitions occurred during Q2 Fiscal 2017: Mondial des Pinots, InterVin International Wine Awards and Decanter Asia Wine Awards. Here's a snapshot of each:

19th Mondial Des Pinots (Sierre, Switzerland) August 7-9, 2016
65 international judges tasted 1,347 Pinot-based wines entered by 470 producers from 24 countries. With an increase in entries of more than 10%, the 19th edition of this competition broke the record set in 2015. 

Winning BC VQA Wines included:
  • Arrowleaf Cellars Solstice Pinot Noir 2014 BC VQA Okanagan Valley - GOLD
  • Arrowleaf Cellars Solstice Pinot Gris 2015 BC VQA Okanagan Valley - SILVER
  • Arrowleaf Cellars Pinot Gris 2015 BC VQA Okanagan Valley - SILVER
  • Church & State Wines Vindication Pinot Noir 2014 BC VQA Okanagan Valley - SILVER
InterVin International Wine Awards (Niagra-On-The-Lake, Ontario) August 10-12, 2016
More than 1,300 wines were entered in this year's competition from which just 48 were awarded gold medals (less than 4%), 222 entries received silver medals and 555 received bronze medals.

Nk'Mip Cellars was named Canadian Winery of the Year. 

BCWI Members' BC VQA Wines received 277 medals, 34% of all medals awarded: 16 gold, 71 silver and 190 bronze.

Decanter Asia Wine Awards (Hong Kong, China) September 6-9, 2016
More than 2,850 wines were tasted blind and rated by Decanter's assembled experts in Hong Kong. BCWI member wineries' BC VQA Wines earned five silver medals and 18 bronze medals. Five were commended. The silver award winners were:
  • Burrowing Owl Estate Winery Cabernet Franc 2013 BC VQA Okanagan Valley
  • C.C. Jentsch Cellars Cabernet Merlot 2014 BC VQA Okanagan Valley
  • C.C. Jentsch Cellars Syrah 2013 BC VQA Okanagan Valley
  • Gold Hill Winery Cabernet Franc 2013 BC VQA Okanagan Valley
  • Gold Hill Winery Family Reserve Meritage 2013 BC VQA Okanagan Valley
To see a list of award-winning BC VQA Wines from 2016 and previous years, visit the Awards page of 
British Columbia Wine Institute: Visit us online at (consumer) | (member & media)